Nazaret "Chic" Cherkezian (1924-1996), was born in Queens, New York. He attended New York University (NYU) where he received a B.A. in Journalism and completed all course work for an M.B.A. in Economic History.
Cherkezian began his career as a journalist in 1946 as a staff member of the New York Herald Tribune. In 1949, he entered the public relations field as Associate Director and Senior Press Representative for the New York University Office of Information Services. While at NYU, he helped found the Office of Radio and Television, where he was Associate Director and Producer from 1954 to 1957. During these years he helped to create the successful Sunrise Semester educational television series.
In 1957, Cherkezian began producing the weekly television series Eye on New York for WCBS-TV. He left commercial television in 1959 to become Director of Public Information for National Educational Television (NET). He advanced to Executive Producer in 1965, a position which he held until 1972. He was awarded fellowships by The Ford Foundation and National Association of Educational Broadcasters to continue development in this field.
Cherkezian came to Washington in 1973 to accept a post as Director of Programming for the National Public Affairs Center for Television (NPACT). His Smithsonian career began in 1974 when he became Telecommunications Coordinator for the Office of Public Affairs. Cherkezian was named Director of the Office of Telecommunications upon its creation in 1976, serving until his retirement in 1986. As Director of the Office of Telecommunications, Cherkezian was responsible for the Smithsonian's radio, television, and film productions. His many credits include A Sense of Discovery, Here at the Smithsonian, Yorktown, and Peace Be Still.